Kitchen Secrets: Mixing and Measuring with Pastry Chef Amanda Broder at Food's Baking Class

Comments (0)


Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 8:00 AM
click to enlarge AARON STEIN-CHESTER
  • Aaron Stein-Chester

During Amanda Broder's stone-fruit baking class at Food last Sunday, the pastry chef gently kneaded pie dough and encouraged the ten ladies seated along the black concrete bar opposite her, "If my great great great grandmother, who was probably illiterate, and had no plumbing or electricity can do this, then you can do it too."

Baking classes at Food, West Pico's neighborhood market/café, are like hanging out at your girlfriend's place while she shows you her kitchen secrets. Broder's Sunday tutorials cover all things buttery and sweet, and her casually cheeky jokes and frequent evocation of that somewhat mythic grandmother seem to help diminish some of the rigid perfectionism people often associate with baking.

Although Broder has trained in some of the city's top kitchens (Campanile, Grace, Josie), attendees benefit most from her emphasis on baking (and mistaking) at home, where conditions are usually less ideal than in a fully-stocked restaurant kitchen (though still probably far better than those of her dough-savvy progenitor).

click to enlarge AARON STEIN-CHESTER
  • Aaron Stein-Chester

A fervent subscriber to the "make it work" mentality, Broder says, "It's okay if you don't have one of these," referring to her shiny KitchenAid stand mixer, as she combines the sugar, salt, and baking powder for her Basque cornmeal torte. "That's what children are for."

Before, during, and between bouts of mixing and measuring, Broder seamlessly weaves together the practical tips (how to cut a perfectly circular cake pan liner out of parchment paper) with personal tips (the importance of getting to know the people selling your fruit at the farmer's market), and (very) personal stories. The ladies in attendance are similarly encouraged to interject questions and tips, and gab, but the focus remains on baking.

"Which grade maple syrup is best for baking?" "What's the difference between baking soda and baking powder?" and, "Oh my God, then what happened?," are all asked and answered with equal excitement.

click to enlarge AARON STEIN-CHESTER
  • Aaron Stein-Chester

The class is mostly demonstrative, and that seems to suit its fashionable attendees nicely. With hands covered in pie dough (she likes to get dirty), Broder asks, "Does anyone want to get their hands in this?" and only two of the women say yes.

This class format also allows her to maximize the material covered. During the two-hour class, the ladies learn how to make six of the café's most delicious pastries while laughing, sipping, tasting, and nobody ruins their manicure.

Attendees leave Broder's baking class with a perfect slice of everything that Food is known for -- in addition to a recipe book and a neatly-packaged goodie box filled with yummy samples, and a bunch of new girlfriends who are excited share what their baking know-how.

For information about upcoming baking classes, visit Food's website food-la.com, call or stop by.

Related Content

Now Trending


  • Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar
    Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar, with chef Jason Fullilove at the helm, is in the two buildings at the pier’s entrance that used to be Beachcomber Cafe and Ruby’s Diner. Those buildings, which have been overhauled completely, reflect both the pier’s 109-year-old history and the cultural import of Malibu itself.
  • The Tasting Menu Trend
    In Los Angeles especially, but increasingly across the country, restaurants are either switching to tasting menus, putting a greater focus on a tasting-menu option (while offering à la carte items as well), or opening as tasting-menu operations from day one. The format that used to be the calling card of only the fanciest of restaurants is becoming ubiquitous, even at places where the waiter calls you “dude” and there isn’t a white tablecloth in sight.
  • Milo's Kitchen: A Treat Truck for Dogs
    Milo's Kitchen, a part of California-based Big Heart Pet Brands, is taking its homestyle dog treats on the road this summer with the "Treat Truck." The dogified food truck is making stops all over the country, ending up in New York early September. The truck stopped at Redondo Beach Dog Park Friday morning entertaining the pups with treats, a photo-booth and play zone. Milo's Kitchen Treat Truck offered samples of the line's six flavors, all with chicken or beef as the first ingredient, and all made in the U.S.A. with no artificial colors or preservatives. All photos by Nanette Gonzales.